Stress might be a key factor in understanding the increased risk of heart attacks, according to a new study published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet.
Researchers found that stress stimulated the amygdala, one of the oldest areas of the brain associated with primal emotions such as fear and stress.
The study suggests that a pattern of brain activity found a link between stress and heart diseases.
A team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Weil Cornell Medical College, Icahn School of Medicine and Tufts University used medical imaging to show that higher levels of activity in the amygdala predicted how likely people were to have a heart attack or a stroke.
The people who had an over-active amygdala also had inflamed blood vessels and inflammation of arteries, which are associated with higher risks of heart disease.